Monday, March 10, 2008

Breaking News: Children and Adults Not the Same

A recent study has shown that there are significant differences between children and adults.

"Adults tend to be self-motivated," explains sociologist Richard Richards, who led the pioneering study. "Left to themselves, nearly 70% of adults display an ability to get dressed, make breakfast, and begin productive work." The same was not true for the test group of toddlers aged 1-3. "The children displayed great initiative in playing with their toys," Richards remarks, "but their ability to cook was poor and their colour-coordination negligible."

The results of the study are expected to send shock waves through the ranks of child-care experts. Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, whose book Sleepless in America compares cry-it-out parents to irresponsible nursing home operators, could not be reached for comment. Nevertheless, the infant-care portion of the study responds directly to her suggestion that babies be treated according to the elder-care model. As Richards explains, "Meal times were posted on a bulletin board and announced over a P.A. system, yet 74% of babies below the age of one did not arrive at the dining room on time, and many did not show up at all." Experimentation with the menu did little to improve the situation: on shepherd's pie night, attendance was only slightly lower than during the much-publicized Post-Natal Pizza Pizzazz.

Parents are expected to welcome the results of the study. Jason P., a father of two who recently spent 39 minutes in time-out for referring to a work colleague as "stupid," told reporters that he's grateful for this evidence that it's okay to treat children differently from adults. "I was getting really tired of watching PBS Kids."

A local mother who insists on being identified only as "Bea" was equally gratified. "Comparing child-care to elder-care just doesn't make sense," she claimed. "In the course of a single day I repeatedly treat my children in ways I would never treat a grown adult. Just yesterday I had to hold both my children down in order to get their pyjamas on - and I forcibly removed a box of Fudgeos from my daughter's hands when I found her hiding in the pantry with them."

Asked to respond to Bea's remarks, Richards looks uneasy. "I wouldn't want this message to be distorted," he cautions. "While the study did reveal certain statistical gaps between the child and adult populations, it's important to remember to treat all groups with respect."

55 comments:

Grilled Pizza said...

Ha ha great post!
Having just found out i am pregnant i suppose i've got all this to look forward to!
GP x

Gwen said...

You ARE sill-ah. And only 70A% of adults can get dressed, make breakfast and begin productive work? What are the other 30% up to? lol.

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

So, that explains it!

Donna said...

Funny stuff. Thanks for the chuckle. And I must say, your "study" makes more sense than some actual ones I've read about.

KAL said...

Hysterical!

nomotherearth said...

Now that's the "A" material! Well done. (just the title made me snicker)

Niksmom said...

Gwen, the other 30% are obviously too busy doing things like holding down their kids to put on pyjamas and such. (I'm in that 30%, too, BTW!) No time for such frivolities as self-dressing and feeding...I just wear my PJ's all day some days. ;-)

Bea, this cracked me up today. Thanks!

Chaotic Joy said...

"Adults tend to be self-motivated," explains sociologist Richard Richards, who led the pioneering study. "Left to themselves, nearly 70% of adults display an ability to get dressed, make breakfast, and begin productive work."

"Suddenly the root of my problems becomes clear to me. I am obviously not yet an adult", says the woman blogging in her pajamas who had done no productive work today.

winslow1204 said...

I think the children are still in learning mode.. They learn from the adults self-confidence and follow suit!

Hannah said...

Oh man, you had me sucked in completely. Because there have been so many completely useless and silly studies about toddlers, I believed this had actually happened. And was probably taxpayer-funded.

Thanks for the chuckle.

a. beaverhausen said...

I'm not even dressed yet. I guess I fall into the 30%.

Mad Hatter said...

Is laughing out loud at a blog post considered productive work because I am dressed and I have eaten breakfast.

Great stuff, Bea, especially the bit about the 39 minute time out.

And, for the record, my daughter is wearing black and white striped tights today with a pink and brown striped shirt simply because she wanted to be "the stripey girl!"

Suz said...

This was so dead-on that I found myself believing it until a few sentences in.

Pieces said...

Shepherd's pie night--ha!

cinnamon gurl said...

Ha! Great job!

Cyndi said...

Very funny!

Janet said...

I dunno; I routinely have to wrest Fudgee-Os from my husband's grasp....

Merle said...

Asked to respond to Bea's remarks, Richards looks uneasy. "I wouldn't want this message to be distorted," he cautions. "While the study did reveal certain statistical gaps between the child and adult populations, it's important to remember to treat all groups with respect."

This tension and guilt hangs over me all the time. Every time I forceably push A into his car seat (while he screams and tries to hit and kick me) and struggle to do up his seatbelt. I am not treating him with respect right? Am I doing something wrong then?

But what about how he treats me? I watched a mother take care of her twin boys for several hours one afternoon. I realized that she used all the same types of respectful phrases that I did but her tone was so much more level and her stress too. But her boys cooperated! Her boys placidly follwed her directions. And even when they didn't, their two year old cries matched the level of my four year olds whimper!!

What do you do when your four year old actively fights against you for almost everything? What do you do when he refuses to take no for an answer regardless of the unreasonableness of his request? What do you do when he literally believes that you (his mother) were put on this planet to serve his needs? and if you are not serving him then the world is not ok...

I don't know. What I do is several three minute time ins a day. Ask for cooperation under the threat of a time in. Bribe (i.e. positively reinforce) with chocolate to cooperate with necessary tasks (like hair washing). And when all else fails... force him to comply.

Am I treating him with respect? Am I damaging him? I don't know. But I am overwhelmingly stressed and just hope that I am doing enough things right to offset that which were wrong.

beth said...

Thanks for the laugh. I am clearly part of the other 30% as I am neither dressed nor productive.

Mimi said...

** snork **

coming soon: a sociological analysis of the different resonances and effectiveness of "because i said so" in different age groups ...

wasn't the recognition of childhood as a state different from simple, tiny adulthood one of the great insigts of the **victorian** age? oh, how we have fallen ...

Jess said...

This is a brilliant, brilliant response. You should write for The Onion.

bren j. said...

HAH! This post is brilliant!

Stimey said...

Fantastic. You're a great read!

Beck said...

HAHAHAA.
Not one of the four people in my house right now is out of their pajamas. I AM FAILING ADULTHOOD.

flutter said...

I truly must sit down.

Kathryn said...

Hahahahahaha!!!!!
hehehe
Oh. Laughing too hard.
Great post!

Carrien said...

I was alright until the 39 minute timeout for calling a colleague stupid. Now I can't stop laughing.

kittenpie said...

Oh hey, I wrested a few things forcibly from my daughter's grasp yesterday, in each case after she had thrown them at someone or used them to smack someone. (Hello, my name is Someone.) Seems we're going through yet another little period of Pushing Mama. Glah.

Swistle said...

This is one of my favorite posts of yours of all time. I've been cheesed off ever since I read (LONNNNNNG ago---when I was working in a daycare, before I had kids) that we shouldn't just pull a child's legs up and change their diapers, because "how would WE like to have that done to US?" And I thought, "I don't know. Ask me TWENTY-THREE YEARS AGO." And also, none of those children were weeping with humiliation: they were 9 months old and chewing on a toy without even seeming to NOTICE what was happening in their nether regions. I disliked the "how would YOU like it?" tone VERY MUCH, but couldn't put my finger on WHY.

Aliki2006 said...

Hilarious! I find things are oh so much clearer now...

Kelly @ Love Well said...

Studies conducted at my house show that four-year-olds only self-motivate when it doesn't matter. When the time comes for them to operate independently -- because the adult is, for example, dealing with a screaming infant -- the four-year-old will revert to complete lack of motivation.

"I can't put on my coat! I CAN'T!" "I don't know how to put on my [Velco-laced] shoes."

Interesting.

Julie Pippert said...

BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

letter9 said...

The title's my favorite part. Hilarious. I know my little Evan always responds to lunch pages sent over the P.A. I always knew he was special.

Terri said...

Are you certain of the "validity" of this "study"? I mean, sometimes there are no detectable differences between "children" and "adults" at all.

I wonder what it says about me that I "played" on the computer while my kids cooked dinner?

Bon said...

when is this capacity for productive work supposed to start, anyway?

it's not Oscar i'm wondering about...it's me.

you crack me up, Bea. like you wouldn't steal fudgeos from the elderly...!

Mama Drama Jenny, the Bloggess said...

Hysterical~

minnesotamom said...

Considering the studies the U.S. government spends their hard-earned $ (read: lots and lots of taxes) on, I thought this might be true. Until I got to the name "Richard Richards."

Though I did once see a gentleman on Wheel of Fortune named Angelo Angelo. Poor fellow.

Jenifer said...

Awesome. I think 70% may be too generous though.

Kyla said...

Has anyone ever told you that you're clever?

Sue said...

Hilarious. HILARIOUS. tee hee hee

Angela said...

Really adults and children are different. I would have never guessed. Just kidding

the new girl said...

Post-natal pizza pizzazz. Oh my holy hell, that's funny.

Antique Mommy said...

That is hysterical! Totally cracked me up!

Occidental Girl said...

What? Children different from adults??? What's next? a squared plus b squared equals c squared? Crazy!

I laughed as a read this and my daughter asked what I was laughing about, so I read it to her. Her favorite part was when the man said he was tired of watching PBS Kids. It's funny, she said, because I never get tired of watching PBS Kids!

wheelsonthebus said...

This is the problem with people who judge sleep training as though it is being practiced on adults, or even on older kids. Well put.

Christine said...

love it!
Running on empty

kgirl said...

omg, you are hilarious. but i kind of do like the comparison of cio parents to negligent elder-care workers.

painted maypole said...

this is about as newsy as most new studies I read about are. ;)

Catherine said...

This is my favorite post in a LONG time. Definietly going on my shared items list! You are a genius. I'm laughing outloud.

Angela said...

You know, data can be manipulated quite easily though. Were multiple measures of assessment used?

Amy said...

One of my favorites! Well done!

Jessi Louise said...

I also hear that humans and birds of prey are not the same. Shocking.

Laura said...

Hee hee. My mom has some balance problems in her older age and she was standing on the bed at a hotel this time... I told her she would have to go to time out for 59 minutes if she didn't sit down by the time I counted to 3.

Christina said...

LOL at the 70% of adults comment. The other 30% are mostly made up of husbands, who somehow lose their ability to do these things without prodding once they have children of their own.

Susanne said...

Really, really funny. Today I seem to fall into the group od adults who don't function well...

Also, I'm happy that nobody forces me to do time-out.